Adding Home-Made Air-Dry Clay to the Indian Rhino

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I worked for about an hour a day for almost a week to get the Indian rhino covered with the air-dry clay. It’s a big project, with a lot of folds and texture, so I wanted to get it just right. Now all that’s left is to finish the other side of the head and give her some toes.

rhino made with air dry clayIf you watched the previous video, you know the rhino was made first with clay, then with plaster cloth. I did it that way so the large sculpture could be hollow. That way, it would be easy to move it around because it wouldn’t be heavy. I used plaster cloth under air dry clay for all of my baby animal dolls, too.

After the air dry clay was completely dry, I finished the rhino with a brush-on iron coating. It came out looking very rhino-like, and I’m really happy with it. As you can see in the photo here, it has a mottled, organic look to it that would have been difficult to achieve any other way. Watch the next video to see how the iron coating was added to the rhino.

71 thoughts on “Adding Home-Made Air-Dry Clay to the Indian Rhino”

  1. Bonjour, bravo et merci pour toutes ces explications vraiment bien faites.
    J’ai l’habitude de travailler mes scultures en terre-papier que je peux remouiller lorsque celle-ci à séchée pour affiner les détails ou simplement continuer mon travail.
    Est-ce qu’il est possible de faire la même chose avec votre argile.

    Per Google translate: Hello, congratulations and thank you for all these explanations really well done.
    I usually work my sculptures in clay-paper that I can re-wet when it has dried to refine the details or simply continue my work.
    Is it possible to do the same with your clay.

    • The air dry clay dries really hard, but it will absorb water. I have never tried to use it the way you described, though. I think you’ll need to mix up a small batch and experiment with it to see if it will work.

  2. Hello Jonni Good ! Im new to the world of paperclay and I am so much looking forward to start sculpting. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and techniquees. However, at my first attempt on making the airdry paper clay I can’t get the mixer nor the electrical whisk to shred the paper so it gets smooth enough. So far it has small balls of paper that gives a rough surface. Either the toilet paper mixture is too heavy for the mixer to turn around its knives in, or if I add water to make the mixer turn, the clay becomes liquid. How can I get it shredded into very fine and smooth clay ? Thank you for helping me out with this dilemma ! Grettings from Morocco Ingrid

    • Hi Ingrid. It sounds like you may need to soak your paper longer, and then mix the paper and water for a minute or two to make the fibers come apart. It’s also possible that you squeezed out too much water after the paper soaked, or your drywall joint compound might be a lot dryer than the brands I used for the recipe. Did you use the gram measurements? For the batch you already made, try adding a little more joint compound and glue instead of water, and see if that helps the mixer get through it. Good luck!

  3. Hi! Stumbled upon your page and finding all sorts of exciting new projects to try.

    I am writing to ask advice on this little cute piggy bank. She is from 1969 Holiday Fair and apparently made of paper Mache chalk ware. She has all sorts of cracks spidering up from the bottom hole, her ears and nose have chips on them so much that the underneath fibers are slightly showing and it is dry and chalky to touch Underneath the paint.

    My thought would be to use your silky smooth paper Mache recipe to patch the inside of the bank with the bigger cracks, and the hopefully reshape the ears and nose a little to stop further damage. My question is will this recipe stick to these surfaces okay? Do I apply glue first, if so what kind? The only paper Mache I have dealt with is from childhood, classic newspaper and water mixture, so this feels like a foreign medium to me.

    Thank you in advance, any help to save this beauty from the recycling center is appreciated!


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